Rav Sternbuch (Teshuvos V’Hanhagos 2:457): Question: Should Tanach be taught in talmud Torah (cheder) before learning gemora? Answer: The accepted practice is not to teach Tanach – even though the halacha is that one should teach Tanach since it is included in the category of holy writings (mikra). The reason for avoiding teaching Tanach is it tends to give a less spiritual understanding – G‑d forbid – of G‑d’s relationship with us. In fact it is more difficult to learn Tanach then it is to learn a complex issue in the gemora. The Chasam Sofer (Toras Moshe Parshas Shemos) stated that when the Torah was translated into Greek then Jews began be aware of the plain meaning of the verses. As a consequence heresy developed and people were not interested in hearing the explanations of our Sages. This in fact is still a concern today. That is the reason that we keep our children from “higayon” – which as Rashi (Berachos 28a) explains means not to present them with Biblical texts unaccompanied with explanation and interpretations. However one who has been educated in Talmud and halacha and has a solid foundation of the pure fear of G-d – he is definitely obligated to learn the entire Bible. Rashi himself notes in his commentary to Torah that a talmid chachom needs to be expert in all 24 books of the Bible. However for young students our ancestors in recent times have not taught them Bible and one should not change this tradition. In fact teaching the Biblical stories carries the real danger that they will view the activities of our forefathers as lowly and coarse behavior because they are missing context and principles for proper understanding of the text. You also asked which commentaries should you use for self-study of Bible? I would recommend intially the commentaries of the Metzudos Dovid, Redak, Abarbanel and the Malbim. However the fact is that for most of Tanach we still don’t have a proper commentary on the elementary level which arouses the heart to fear G‑d – which is the main concern in our days. The heretics that learn Bible their entire purpose is to show that the Biblical personalities also sinned in those days. In this manner they want to minimize the negative connonations of sin. The fact is that the true meaning of Bible is like that of the true meaning of Torah – without the commentaries of our Sages we have little ability to understand them properly. Because of these difficulties in learning Bible one will receive greater reward for not studying Bible then he would in studying it. He should leave his son to learn in the accepted manner which means Torah, Mishna, Gemora and Rishonim and then afterwards he should study Bible by himself with the proper commentaries and that will be the best for him.